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Joseph Cotten - quotes

Quotations relating to Joseph Cotten...

Well, Hitchcock, right from the beginning, his earliest work to the end, seemed to be very concerned about making the villain not a cliché, giving the villain a great deal of character and uniqueness as opposed to, you know, the guy that flicks the moustache. In "Shadow of a Doubt", Hitchcock goes out of his way to give him as much depth as possible. The idea of smoke, or the idea of him taking over. He does seem to take over the home, the family.

His speech at the dinner table, when he talks about women and how life is a sty, Hitchcock definitely gives Cotten his position. He lets the character say what he means and give his position paper, so to speak. "This is how I feel." That speech is very shocking. Even today, you look at it and you say, "Wow, that's pretty strong stuff."

That's one of the things you can characterise about Hitchcock is this kind of empathy for the devil.

Bogdanovich talking about the mother, "Emma", played by Patricia Collinge...

[Emma] doesn't see what's going on. She has a kind of blindness. But she's rather touchingly handled. Your heart breaks for her. She's almost desperate to remember that past, to remember that childhood that was evidently idyllic. Both she and Uncle Charlie have a tendency to glamorise and romanticise the past, which is what those shots of the Merry Widow dancers call to mind, another era, a more romantic period. She's one of the most touching characters in his work. Because she's so crazy about her brother, it makes you feel worse about bringing Cotten down because you feel, "What's that gonna do to the mother? It's gonna be very rough on her."

Wright talking about the ending of the film...

When we did that scene on the train, I don't believe he... he had it choreographed in his head exactly. He just had us struggle. I had to pull back and put my feet in a certain way and hold on in a certain way. Joe would have to try to push me off in a certain way. And then, after having gotten the master shot, he would come in and do close-ups on wherever our hands and feet were.

Sometimes people say, "Boy, that was a pretty good shove you gave him." It wasn't really that she pushed him, but he was trying to push her, and in resisting him, at one point in the struggle, it just happens that he falls. It was very effective. It was kind of horrifying.

It's really hard to go on with the story after that. You know? You had to end it. You couldn't end with his death, and you didn't want to end with a funeral. So I think the only thing he could do was the scene outside the funeral, and try to say something about life and what his life added up to.

It's an end of innocence for her, because she now cannot only imagine evil, which, she would never have imagined anything that evil before, but she knows it exists and she knew it existed in the one person her mother loved the most. She has to grow up and realise that people can be deeply loved by someone, and yet have something inside them that is so destructive, that they can poison and literally kill people.

Teresa Wright (2000)


Joseph Cotten, who played Uncle Charlie in the movie, was a very close friend of my parents. I had an enormous crush on him. I just adored him. I was 17. I still adored him. He and his wife were very close friends of my mother and father, so they found it very easy working together.

Patricia Collinge's name in the movie was "Emma", which was my father's mother's name. She passed away, actually, in the middle of the movie. I would say her portrayal is the opposite of my father's mother. He never brought personal things into movies. This is what everybody doesn't realise. Everything came from his imagination. It was not, "Oh, I'll make her like so-and-so." He didn't do that. It was his imagination.